On the 2nd and 3rd of April 2011, I began production of a Television Commercial for Nippon Paint in Indonesia. The product called “Vinilex” is a popular household paint which was due for a new marketing campaign. The Agency, Dentsu Jakarta, wanted to explore a bit of digital alchemy, some visual magic with their idea. Key creatives ECD Rostina P (Tina for short) and Art Director Edhya Listiani wanted to play with the “magic of colour” by creating a world where a fresh coat of paint could create joy, excitement and perhaps a dash of dare!
Working with Kemistry Films in Jakarta again, I was reunited with Producer Rini Hewitt and her core team. They included 1st AD Agnes, Production coordinator Anita Sandrayanti, Costume Designer Imelda, and Art Director Malek Prada! I had previously worked with all of them on other TVC’s in Jakarta so it was great to reunite! New to the group was DOP Ipul & Editor Ravi both of whom were really great to work with.
The TVC required a location shoot but what we wanted was quite exotic. At first I was thinking “Set Design” and a Studio based shoot but soon learnt that wasn’t going to be possible. A location scout returned with many photos from various galleries and public spaces around Jakarta but one set stood out immediately. In Jakarta, there is a tourist destination called Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. It’s a massive park filled with examples of every type of building construction found throughout the 1000+ islands of Indonesia! If your into Architecture then this is a great spot to go and visit. Deep within the complex is a science centre for schools and people interested in science and engineering. Its a huge round building with a very futuristic look and feel. It’s not well frequented by the public so they had a vast section unused which we could take advantage of.
So off we all went and visited the site! On looking around, Malek and I immediately came up with an awesome plan to build a small section of set. He drew the plans that afternoon and construction begun the next day! It was a “Guggenheim inspired” Gallery set out like a giant colour wheel! Panels would stand in spoked sections of the “wheel like” space! A curved, highly reflective door would lead audiences into a cathedral styled room that a studio set design simply would never have afforded! I loved the design and was so happy when the Agency and Client agreed to it.
Key to this Commercial was Blackmagic Design in Singapore. Lead compositor Damien Yang and his assistant Chia Choon flew to Jakarta to supervise the extensive 3D and 2D effects. In the region, I’ve come to depend on the Blackmagic Design team for not only excellent workmanship but their friendship. Damien is a master compositor par excellence! His strong sense of design and technical skill are incredibly valuable to me but its his flexibility when it comes to Client/Agency changes (and even my own) that is truly exceptional. He deals with it all so well. This job was a joy however as we had such a great on set team. Malek’s Art department team had built all sorts of rigs and tricks to help make the 3D magic go smoothly. He built “Paint Splattering Machines”, a water ramp that could dump a large amount of water onto our cast via a curved piece of Perspex to form a massive wave, painting dripping rigs, etc etc. All in all we had a lot of rigs and tricks to play with!
Casting was a huge deal for me on this TVC. We were looking for an unknown who could pull off all the technical requirements as well as carry off the humorous and fun moments. Luckily we found it in a young man called ‘Boy”. His understanding of English was limited but we were still able to communicate effectively. He had never performed before on a TVC so he had a lot to learn!
Shot on 35mm Kodak film, Ipul, my very young DOP, had a lot of cool elements to play with! The overhead domed glass ceiling would pose somewhat of a challenge to him as the sun became full strength at times! In an unconventional manner, Jakarta’s sky cleared of its drab grey clouds and spilled harsh sunlight through the very impressive ceiling! Sadly day two didn’t follow suit and we did have to rebalance shots later in Telecine. However Ipul did an amazing job dealing with the scale of the shoot and the vast space of the location.
At the end of Day Two, the main Cast had been completed and we moved on to filming many elements for 3D. Damien and Chachoon oversaw the filming of paint splats, drips, dunks, water spray etc, all shot in high speed 35mm film! It was actually quite fun to watch!
I shot the pack shot as a time-lapse sequence using my 5DMK2 in stills mode. An artist painted the Pack Shot for me on a canvas while the camera recorded each stroke as a time lapse event. Later we removed any reference to the artist so that the Pack Shot could be seen to self animate on screen!
So after a fun packed 2.5 day shoot, we progressed to Post Production in Jakarta. Robert Cook at VHQ Jakarta had graded the one light rushes for us and freelance FCP editor Ravi brought his laptop down to the Grand Kemang Hotel, where we cut the offline edits over the 5th and 6th of April. We cut a 60, 45, 30 and a 15 second which we presented to the Agency and Client on the 7th at the Cutshop Jakarta. That went very well. In fact as a result, the Client bought the 45 second TVC!
With picture locked off, the final Grade occurred on the 8th of April at VHQ with Robert Cook again. His grade was very nice and with that, we headed off to our own worlds for a couple of weeks! I briefed in the Music to KL based Composer Mike Bloemendal who’s company Imaginex was handling the Audio Post Production. The images left Jakarta and headed to Singapore for cleanup and 3D at Blackmagic Design while I headed home for a very short break.
I didn’t rest for long. As the 3D team were hard at work in Singapore, I rushed off to Hong Kong to shoot another TVC. Following the conclusion of that shoot and subsequent offline in Shanghai, I returned back to Singapore to oversee the Online of Vinilex. The team at BMD had been in constant contact with me while I was away (via Skype and email) so I was fully aware of progress. Now that I was back, we began the serious task of compositing all the elements. I arrived on the 5th of May via Hong Kong. By Monday the 9th, we presented to the Agency and mostly we were in good shape. Mike Bloemendal sent through his track of music and blew me away with his “accurate to the reference” composition! He was able to add his own elements to it but it retained the spirit and feeling of the reference track! He also managed to rope in a good mate from the USA to do the vocals which was awesome! Damien and his team at BMD had pulled off yet another miracle in cleaning up vast areas of the images, removing stray public, messy backgrounds, and conflicting colours. In a few sections, the set had to be extended or repaired thanks to our rigs. Chia Choon and the 3D team built Cars, Oranges and water elements while Damien composited them into their respective scenes. There were still some elements needing completion but by Wednesday the 11th, we presented to the Client.
The Vinilex TVC was a fun experience for me. I think I was lucky to not only work with so many very talented people, many of whom I consider great personal friends, but a fantastic agency team as well. There are quite a few names I should be mentioning here from the Agency side but shamefully I don’t have them written down anywhere! I use my blog to record, pay respect and say thank you for an otherwise thankless world in advertising. Since no credits roll at the end of a TVC I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to the Agency, the Crew, Kemistry Films, Rini Hewitt, Imaginex and the Blackmagic Team for a fantastic effort.
To watch the TVC press the following image! Enjoy!